Last weekend I went for a quick surprise visit to Michigan – I had some paperwork I needed to take care of and took the Guatemalan Holiday as an opportunity to do so. It just so happened that it was also time to put down our faithful friend, Dave the Dog. Anyone who knew Dave loved him (or at least liked him – even the cat people). He was a good dog. Faithful. Calm. Quirky.
My brother and sister-in-law adopted him 10 years ago. We think he was abused or neglected – he was petrified of newspapers and he was a Labrador who didn’t know how to swim. My brother Mark took care of that quickly. One toss off the boat and Dave learned something he would love for the rest of his doggy life.
His name was a sore subject. He came with it, but it’s also my Grandpa’s name and my brother’s middle name. Grandma didn’t like that much, but it’s Dave. No other name would have fit.
Dave truly was a family dog. He lived with Scott and Cheri until two kids and an
upcoming move sent him to my parents’ house. He stayed there indefinitely as the three little kids made it hard for him to get the exercise and attention he loved so much. But, Noah still made it clear that, “Dave is my dog who lives at Oma’s house.” Got it. He spent stints at Mark’s house, and I think even Claudia grew fond of him.
As his last day neared, the stories started coming out – Dave burrowing through the snow with only his butt and tail visible. Dave always being afraid of vents. Dave breaking his collar to swim out to the middle of the lake when I was skiing. Kiersten taking Dave for walks. Claire spending time just staring into his eyes. There was one summer, when most of my friends were away doing internships that Dave really felt like my closest friend.
One of my favorites – the first night Joel came to MI when we were dating, we got in from the airport at 3:00am. I forgot to tell Joel that we had a dog and sent him to bed in the guest room. Around 7:00am, Joel heard the door creak open and the patter of a large dog walking toward him. He didn’t know what to think, so he stuck his hand out to find out if this was a nice dog or if he was in trouble. His hand was met with a slobbery lick. Dave was skeptical of Joel at first and would constantly budge between us – protecting me, of course. But over time they, too, became good friends.
Adios, Dave the Dog, we’ll miss you – you left a big paw print on our family!